Tangerine Seahorse Descending A Staircase Reassembled Ring Teapot

19" tall by 11" wide by 9" deep

Photo by Ray Bub

This Teapot is For Sale

Price: Contact Ray Bub to negotiate

This teapot has been chosen in the Ceramics As Art category of the “10th International Ceramics Competition Mino, Japan,” an exhibition of 158 ceramic artworks chosen from 2016 entries submitted by ceramic artists from 59 countries and regions around the world. The Japanese jurors for the Ceramics As Art category were Toru Enomoto, Harumi Nakashima, Akihiro Maeta, Kazuko Todate, and Kenji Kaneko. International jurors were Ernst Gamperl, Germany, and Nicole Coolidge Rousmaniere, United Kingdom. The “10th International Ceramics Competition Mino, Japan,” the premier event of the International Ceramics Festival ’14 Mino, will be on display from September 12 to October 19, 2014 at the Ceramics Park Mino, Tajimi City, Gifu Prefecture, Japan.

My Tangerine Seahorse Descending A Staircase Reassembled Ring Teapot, like my Midnight Blue Reassembled Ring Teapot, Grasshopper Leaping Reassembled Ring Teapot, and Blue Heron Wading Reassembled Ring Teapot, has very little interior volume—not much room for tea! I decided on the long descriptive title after an extended period of contemplating the finished Reassembled Ring Teapot. While searching my mind for an appropriate title, I first thought of my childhood growing up in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area during the fifties, when we watched on our black & white TV the final scene of The Lone Ranger on his rearing horse, calling out “Hi-Ho Silver, Away!” I thought about a title that included “Rearing Horse,” but soon abandoned that idea.

This Reassembled Ring Teapot gives me more of a feeling of the upright and constant-motion underwater posture of ocean-dwelling seahorses that I remember seeing on National Geographic TV specials, rather than an earth-bound rearing Palomino horse. The curving-forward lid finial at the top of the teapot suggests the rounded back of the head of the seahorse, and the handle positioned about halfway down the left of the teapot echoes the dorsal fin the seahorse uses for keeping itself stabilized in an upright position and moving forward. The spout echoes the pointy nose of the seahorse, and the slight tilt toward the right implies the seahorse’s forward motion.

I like “Tangerine” in the title, because in addition to being the dominant color of this teapot, it is also the name of a familiar spherical citrus fruit, tasty, short-lived, and profoundly unrelated to this angular ceramic sculpture.

I like to offer unexpected juxtapositions in my artwork. With continued contemplation I came to see a reference in the implied left-to-right movement of this Teapot to the 1912 early Cubist painting “Nude Descending A Staircase” by the French-American artist Marcel DuChamp. I love that DuChamp’s painting is not a single discernable figure walking down a set of stairs, but in a profound way shows in a 2-dimensional painted image a “movie” of many successive snapshots of abstracted outlines of a figure walking from left to right down a set of stairs. I can see how this painting was so influential in the 1913 New York Armory Show, and in the development of 20th century modern art!

I thought of the impossible but attractive image of a tangerine-colored ocean-dwelling seahorse (real-life seahorses come in many colors) descending a staircase left-to-right on dry land. How about that for a cobbled-together series of disparate images in one title, “Tangerine Seahorse Descending A Staircase Reassembled Ring Teapot!”

I made the teapot assembly by throwing a ring on the potter’s wheel with three extended fins and a small central hollow space. At the same time I threw a 3-tiered bowl, planning to trim the top into a rounded dome and invert the bowl to make the base of the teapot. I cut the ring into five arc segments, sealed the ends of the hollow ring segments with clay slabs, and joined the 5 segments together in a pleasing sculptural assembly. I mounted the ring assembly on the three-tiered inverted bowl base, making sure the bottom left-pointing arc section hovered above the base. This looked good, but the ring assembly was leaning forward and was tilted off-balance too far toward the right. After much thought about how I could alter the ring assembly into a more upright and stable orientation, it occurred to me that I could cut off an arc section from the bottom left edge of the inverted bowl, thus tilting the whole assembly leftward into a more balanced posture. Although I had not anticipated this, I saw after cutting the arc section off that this gave the inverted 3-tiered bowl base a much more dynamic pose, as it was now tilted off-center like the Leaning Tower Of Pisa, or a doe’s foot!

I handbuilt the spout from curvy-arc slabs and attached it to the top of the teapot assembly pointing to the right, cut out the lid with an x-acto knife on the top left ring section, and attached the pulled handle on the left. But what was I going to make for the lid finial? I had saved the curving arc section piece I had cut from the bottom left edge of the inverted bowl base, and I attached half of the thin tapering curved arc section to the lid as the lid finial—very good! During the firing this thin curved arc drooped down one full inch, but lucky for me it was positioned off-center from above the spout, and it did not melted-glaze glue itself onto the top of the spout or the teapot ring assembly. There are many points such as this along the way in making one of these sculptural teapots, where one little miscalculation can ruin the whole about 100-hour time and energy investment in making one of my Reassembled Ring Teapots.

I am very proud of my accomplishment in successfully completing my “Tangerine Seahorse Descending A Staircase Reassembled Ring Teapot,” and having it selected for the 10th International Ceramics Competition Mino, Japan.

ADDRESS

Oak Bluffs Cottage Pottery
Pownal, VT

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